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All You Need Is A Weekend – Paddling Algonquin Provincial Park

Paddling in Algonquin Provincial Park is something of a rite-of-passage for Ontarians. But for the uninitiated, a trip to the park can be a little intimidating. A backcountry paddle isn’t kicking your feet up on a Muskoka chair with a glass of chardonnay. Loaded with gear, maps, and staring down the many lengthy lakes that will need to be crossed in order to make your campsite each evening, it’s obvious that paddling and portaging in Algonquin Park is an adventure, but one which can be attained in a single weekend.


The Park

If you’re not familiar with Algonquin Provincial Park, let me give you a brief rundown: The world famous park was established in 1893 and is Canada’s oldest provincial park. At 7,653 square kilometres, the park is roughly the size of Jamaica and features over 2,400 lakes, and over 1,200 kilometres of rivers and streams.


The Mission


A visit to Algonquin Park is surprisingly accessible. We set out by calling Algonquin Outfitters, one of the areas most well known wilderness canoe and camping outfitters. A woman greeted us on the phone with a hilariously classic Canadian accent.

“Oh, sure you can do it without much experience! Would you like a guide? Maybe just a one day trip to begin? We offer multi-day trips, group trips, full gear rentals, and can assist you with your planning.”

The possibilities were endless. We settled on two readily accessible missions: A short paddle to Ragged Falls, just off of Highway 60, and a guided trip on a creek notorious for it’s wildlife viewing opportunities. Two guided-day trips that anyone could do in a single weekend, with ample time to explore the park on your own.


The Trip

We set out in the morning driving from Toronto on a sweltering hot day, rolling into Algonquin Outfitters Oxtongue Lake location elated and surrounded by cooler air…but admittedly a little intimidated; we had brought nothing but our cameras and our sleeping bags.

The folks at Algonquin Outfitters came through providing our canoes, our paddles, small snacks, and a guide for our first short canoe trip to Ragged Falls. The mosquitos were absent with a breeze on the lake and the water was a perfect temeprature. We set out and the rhythm of paddling set in. The short trip wasn’t tough. In fact, it was actually really relaxing. Though we stayed in nearby Bartlett Lodge, we were offered stay in permanent canvas tents set up along the shoreline at Algonquin Outfitters; a little easter egg worth inquiring about if you’re on a budget.

We rolled into Algonquin Outfitters Oxtongue Lake location elated, but admittedly a little intimidated…We had brought nothing but our cameras and our sleeping bags.
-Sasha Barkans

The next morning started early. Wilderness viewing opportunities being best in the morning when the temperature is cooler. A short paddle delivered on Algonquin Park’s legendary reputation as a black bear, a moose, heron, eagles, and plenty of wetland creatures showed face. We wrapped up on the river before noon giving us plenty enough time to check out the park’s art gallery, logging museum, and nature centre.


Quick Tips


What: Weekend day trips paddling in Algonquin Provincial Park.
Where: Algonquin Outfitters in Algonquin Provincial Park. With close proximity to the GTA, and featuring plenty of wilderness lodging, car camping, and the nearby town of Huntsville, there truly is no excuse to not try paddling in one of Ontario’s premiere backcountry park.
Cost: Guided Wilderness Paddle (Day Trip) – 2 People For $159.98, Ragged Falls Paddle (Day Trip) – 2 Person Canoe For 26.98, Weekend trip from Oxtongue Lake – $185 to $205
Who: Anyone! With close proximity to Toronto and Ottawa and so many options for accommodation, adventurers of any skill level can plan a weekend trip. If you want to map your own adventure, we highly recommend Jeff’s Maps.  If you’d prefer to stay in a luxury style lodge, there are some options for that: Killarney LodgeBartlett Lodge, and Arrowhon Pines ResortCar camping is also great for your first experience in the park and cheaper than lodging.



Like this post? Check out 2 Unforgettable Days Of Whitewater Rafting Down The Ottawa River and The Best Places To Kayak In New Brunswick, too!

Trip Details

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